I’m too busy for serious blogging this week, so chomp on these random nuggets on how social media are affecting our lives:
@SenJohnMcCain has over 180,000 followers on Twitter. The Senator isn’t big on conversation, but that’s not why he’s using the world’s hottest social network. For McCain, Twitter is a broadcasting tool for hammering home messages about pork-barrel spending in Washington. His tweets are crisp and his messages are clear.
Some say McCain doesn’t get social media. I mean, where’s the conversation? Fact is, conversation doesn’t fit McCain’s strategy for this campaign. He’s using Twitter as he would the mainstream media: to create awareness/buzz about his positions and to galvanize support. And it seems to be working.
If the social media animal is, indeed, self-regulating, then who is to say McCain is breaking the rules? His one-way campaign on our favorite 2-way network isn’t right or wrong. It just is.
But do you think McCain is actually writing all those tweets himself? Or does he get help from a ghostwriter on his staff? Oh, the horrors!
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Is PR a profession? My recent posts on the ghostwriting issue (scroll down to the last two) have me wondering why so many in social media so deeply distrust public relations. The answer is pretty obvious: Many of them never met a true PR professional — if there is such a thing — and here’s why:
Even bottom feeders like Sidney Falco are free to call themselves “public relations” practitioners. There’s NO BARRIER WHATSOEVER to entering this business. For every successful professional dedicated to building 2-way communication and trust, there’s a “flack” who focuses on press agentry and spin. (Aside: I wonder if those who use the term “flack” so freely in their blogs and chatter understand or care about the word’s pejorative nature.)
I’m not gonna worry about any of this. After all, social media is a self-regulating world governed by the wisdom of crowds. The marketplace will ensure that higher truth prevails. Thank goodness our business leaders understand this, too. Just yesterday, a top executive/lawyer for Procter & Gamble assured us all that self-regulation of advertising and marketing messages is all that’s required to ensure honesty and candor. (Thanks to Guhmshoo for the link and the toon.)
Why am I not comforted when a Fortune 500 giant says, in effect, “Trust us, we’ll get it right”?
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The wisdom of crowds. As newspapers and other newsgathering organizations struggle to survive, more people are getting their news from the online grapevine. Links passed via email, blogs and social networks are the ONLY connection some people have to world events.
Does this worry you? I’m NOT one who trusts the wisdom of crowds, and I felt that long before Brian Connolly said the same thing during his interview here. You see, I very much need the trained news professionals who help me interpret the world. My online friends and colleagues don’t have the time or the knowledge to do that.
As I drafted this paragraph last week, the story with the most votes on Digg involved a California pizza shop that makes its workers wear t-shirts featuring bad Yelp reviews. A brilliant marketing gimmick, to be sure. But news?
Maybe crowdsourcing works for you. But I really don’t want my news with peperoni and mushrooms.
Thanks to Karen Russell at UGa for including me in her “Meet the Teacher” profile at Teaching Public Relations. I see no one has posted a comment yet. Probably a good thing!